Monday, February 25, 2008

I have a new hobby.

It's reading P&G's website for girls, BeingGirl.com, and imagining all the stories and articles being written by middle-aged men.

It's meant for 11-year-old-girls, so I shouldn't be too critical, I just can't believe I ever had a brain that would find this stuff useful. (I did, of course.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Vampires were our first freedom fighters!"

My mom has told me about this several times, but I never realized it was from Gloria Steinem. I had never heard the whole thing. It's pretty dang sweet.
If Men Could Menstruate: A Political Fantasy, by Gloria Steinem

A white minority of the world has spent centuries conning us into thinking that a white skin makes people superior - even though the only thing it really does is make the person more subject to ultraviolet rays and to wrinkles.

Male human beings have built whole cultures around the idea that penis-envy is "natural" to women - though having such an unprotected organ might be said to make men vulnerable, and the power to give birth makes womb-envy at least as logical.

In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless - and logic has nothing to do with it.

What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?

The answer is clear - menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts.

Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shields - "For Those Light Bachelor Days," and Robert "Baretta" Blake Maxi-Pads.)

Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as proof that only men could serve in the Army ("you have to give blood to take blood"), occupy political office ("can women be aggressive without that steadfast cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priest and ministers ("how could a woman give her blood for our sins?") or rabbis("without the monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean").

Male radicals, left-wing politicians, mystics, however, would insist that women are equal, just different, and that any woman could enter their ranks if she were willing to self-inflict a major wound every month ("you MUST give blood for the revolution"), recognize the preeminence of menstrual issues, or subordinate her selfness to all men in their Cycle of Enlightenment.

Street guys would brag ("I'm a three pad man") or answer praise from a buddy ("Man, you lookin' good!") by giving fives and saying, "Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!" TV shows would treat the subject at length. ("Happy Days": Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still "The Fonz," though he has missed two periods in a row.) So would newspapers.(SHARK SCARE THREATENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES MONTHLY STRESS IN PARDONING RAPIST.) And movies. (Newman and Redford in "Blood Brothers"!)

Men would convince women that intercourse was more pleasurable at "that time of the month." Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself - though probably only because they needed a good menstruating man.

Of course, male intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguments. How could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics, or measurement, for instance, without that in-built gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets - and thus for measuring anything at all? In the rarefied fields of philosophy and religion, could women compensate for missing the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death-and-resurrection every month?

Liberal males in every field would try to be kind: the fact that "these people" have no gift for measuring life or connecting to the universe, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough.

And how would women be trained to react? One can imagine traditional women agreeing to all arguments with a staunch and smiling masochism. ("The ERA would force housewives to wound themselves every month": Phyllis Schlafly. "Your husband's blood is as sacred as that of Jesus - and so sexy, too!": Marabel Morgan.) Reformers and Queen Bees would try to imitate men, and pretend to have a monthly cycle. All feminists would explain endlessly that men, too, needed to be liberated from the false idea of Martian aggressiveness, just as women needed to escape the bonds of menses-envy. Radical feminist would add that the oppression of the nonmenstrual was the pattern for all other oppressions ("Vampires were our first freedom fighters!") Cultural feminists would develop a bloodless imagery in art and literature. Socialist feminists would insist that only under capitalism would men be able to monopolize menstrual blood...

In fact, if men could menstruate, the power justifications could probably go on forever.

If we let them.

Monday, February 18, 2008

myvag.net

I just discovered a lovely site called All About My Vagina. She wrote something about free-bleeding and I enjoyed it. You should too.

"Until recently, I hadn't thought much about 'free bleeding,' because it seemed very obviously impractical to me to refrain from any kind of menstrual product and just bleed all over things during magic time. ..It suddenly occurred to me one morning that I am already, in fact, quite a shamelessly free bleeder. Up until then, I had considered myself just lazy about product refreshment schedules."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Insteads




Today I finally went to Walgreens to pick up some Insteads. (Walgreens and Target are the only places I've found that sell them.) They come in a cute little purple box. While she was waiting for my debit card stuff to go through, the puzzled cashier was like, "Not pads?" and I didn't really want to say too much because there was a line of guys behind me, so I was just like, "I heard they're really cool. They go.... in." I felt sneaky because I'm pretty sure none of those dudes knew what we were talking about. It was $7.99 for a box of fourteen. I estimate the box would last a good three months, so that seems like an okay deal.


I thought they would be a little similar to the Divacup, and I guess they are in blood-collection strategy, but in appearance they are not. The best way I can describe an Instead is a pink Livestrong bracelet lining a tiny sandwich bag.


No product review yet.
Anyone else have Instead experiences to share?



Saturday, February 9, 2008

"Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no"

That's all I could say to myself when I made a terrible mistake while searching google images. SafeSearch was regrettably off when I searched "menstrual pad" for pictures for my workshop powerpoint. One picture was from a website called menstrualfetishvideos.com (which I will kindly refrain from linking to) and curiosity got the best of me.

I wish I could say that I am surprised to find that such a thing exists, but unfortunately I am not.

I am spending today reading all of these books:


But please enjoy this video I found on youtube, called Your Body and Your Government:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Boys

In my Sociology of Gender class last week, somehow we got on the subject of menstruation and how girls are socialized to keep it a big secret. It was a pretty fun little talk, and one girl in my class said something that made me laugh:

"Guys don't understand periods until they've had a couple girlfriends. Then they're good to go."

That sounds about right to me.

I kind of avoid telling boys about my honors project. Well no, that's not entirely true. Depending on who it is, I either completely avoid talking about it, or I whole-heartedly spearhead the conversation and quietly judge them based on their first reactions. I'd say only about 5% of boys fall into the latter category though.

 

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